Kerala High Court: Raja Vijayaraghavan V, J. while allowing the revision petition, discharged the petitioner and set aside all orders by Sessions Court incriminating him.

In the instant case, the petitioner was convicted with charges of distributing pamphlets containing seditious writings, and one charge of exhorting people to take up arms against the state under various sections of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967 (‘UAP’). Separate sanction orders were obtained under the Recommendation Rules, 2008, for prosecuting the petitioner.

K.S. Madhusoodhanan, counsel representing the petitioner, submitted that to prosecute the petitioner under Section 124A of Penal Code, 1860 sanction under Section 196 of the Criminal Procedure Code, 1973 (CrPC) has to be obtained. In the present case, sanctions were obtained under Section 45(1) (ii) of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967. Further, under Recommendation Rules, 2008, the Investigation officer is required to submit the investigation report, after which the state authorities shall grant sanction to prosecute within 7 days. The same condition was not satisfied and the sanction order was delayed.

Suresh Babu Thomas, the counsel for State contended that the delay was caused because the chairman of the authority was preoccupied with Puttingal Temple Enquiry Commission and mere failure of the State to follow the stipulations in the Act and Rules will not have any effect in the prosecution of the petitioner.

Citing the case of CBI v. Ashok Agarwal, (2014) 14 SCC 295 the Court stated that it is the obligation of the sanctioning authority to scrutinize all the records and facts presented by the prosecution and apply their own mind on the same so that the sanction would be granted in accordance with the law. Strict adherence to the time limit is to be followed by the sanctioning authority. Further, it was held by the court that the prosecution shall obtain sanction under Section 196 of the CrPC for prosecuting of petitioner for having committed an offence under Section 124A of the IPC. [Roopesh v. State of Kerala, 2019 SCC OnLine Ker 3009, decided on 20-09-2019]

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